COVID: National parks in Assam to reopen for tourists on October 1


GUWAHATI: The Orang National Park in Assam will reopen for tourists on Thursday and the parks in Kaziranga and Manas will reopen on October 1, officials said on Wednesday.

The national parks in Assam were shut to visitors for several months due to COVID-19 pandemic and the monsoon season, they said.

This year the parks were shut before the normal schedule because of the outbreak of the second wave of COVID-19.

The Kaziranga National Park (KNP), known the world over for its one horn rhino, will initially be opened partially with access to only three ranges from October 1, an official release said.

Tourists, who flock to the largest national park in the north east from the country and abroad, will be allowed to have only jeep safari for the time being but not the much sought after elephant ride, it said.

The famous Orang National Park (ONP) will reopen from Thursday from September 30 for the tourist season of 2021-22, ONP divisional forest officer Pradipta Baruah said in a notice.

All COVID-19 protocol and safety guidelines will be followed for the visitors, he added.

Baruah also informed that only a portion of the safari route inside the park will be opened to tourists at present due to poor condition of roads owing to recent floods.

“Remaining part of the tourist route will be opened only after repairing of the roads and will be notified in due course,” he added.

Manas National Park ranger Babul Brahma told PTI that the park will open its gates to visitors from October 1 with strict adherence of COVID-19 protocols.

On September 1 the Assam cabinet had decided to drop the name of former prime minister from Rajiv Gandhi Orang National Park and revert to the old name of Orang National Park.

The state on Wednesday reported 366 COVID-19 cases, 24 less than the previous day, and seven more deaths, a National Health Mission (NHM) bulletin said.

The coronavirus tally in the state is 6,01,787 and currently, there are 3,140 active cases.

Of the new COVID-19 cases, 108 were detected in Kamrup Metropolitan, 32 in Barpeta, 31 in Jorhat, and 27 in Golaghat, the bulletin said.

Three fresh fatalities were reported from Sonitpur and one each in Baksa, Dhemaji, Nagaon, and Udalguri districts, taking the toll to 5,868.

NHM said 1,347 more COVID-19 patients have died till now, but the government’s Death Audit Board has not included them in the tally of deaths caused by COVID-19 as they had other ailments too.

The northeastern state had on Tuesday recorded ten COVID deaths.

The positivity rate was 0.72 per cent, with 50,692 tests conducted during the day.

The state had reported 390 coronavirus positive cases on Tuesday against the testing of 56,236 samples.

Over 2.35 crore samples have been tested for coronavirus in the state thus far.

As many as 507 people were cured of the disease during the day, taking the total number of recoveries to 5,91,432.

The NHM bulletin said more than 2.39 crore doses of vaccines have been administered to date.

It said 1,10,853 people were vaccinated on Wednesday, down from 1,78,999 on Tuesday.